Archbishop Antonio Cañizares Llovera of Toledo, Spain, thanked Pope Benedict XVI this week for his appointment to the College of Cardinals and said that he never saw himself as a “Prince of the Church,” but rather only as “a servant, and nothing more than a servant.”
During a press conference, the future cardinal said his appointment is “a gesture of confidence” in him, in the Archdiocese of Toledo and in the Bishops’ Conference of Spain on the part of the Pope. “This gratitude also extends to the One to whom I owe everything, God our Lord,” he added.
He said he considered it very appropriate that the Holy Father would announce the appointment of new cardinals on the feast of the Chair of St. Peter, given the strong bonds between the College of Cardinals and the Successor of Peter.
The mission of the College of Cardinals, he indicated, “is to collaborate with the Pope in his ministry of confirming the apostolic faith, guaranteeing and strengthening the ecclesial community, presiding through service in charity and spreading hope in the entire Church.”
“I have also been given the grace of helping the Pope with all of my strength. Being at his side in everything, living in unbreakable communion with him and being an instrument of that communion; sharing his concerns and apostolic works in that singular unity that being a part of the College of Cardinals signifies,” he stated.
Bells rang out in the archbishop’s hometown of Utiel when news of his appointment was made known.
The Apostolic Nuncio in Spain, Archbishop Manuel Monteiro de Castro, said he was “very pleased and satisfied” with the news. He called Archbishop Cañizares “a very educated person, with an extensive academic curriculum, and a member of the most important congregation in the Church, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.”
The Mayor of Toledo, Jose Manuel Molina, announced he would commission a special golden medallion that will be presented to the new cardinal-elect.